Being busy, busy, busy. Been a long time since my last entry to the FlyingFisch´ blog, but let´s just get it over with: The past year wasn´t that great of a year for video games. Not a whole lot of originality to be seen, partly due to the transition into the next gen of consoles. Though, even next gen doesn´t give much hope for big changes. Shooters will remain the hot topic, and killing virtual people seems to be a perma stay for what´s most fun for people. Anyways,
These are the gameplay mechanics of the year-winners:
Kid Icarus: Uprising for its successful combination of presenting a cinematic story without negatively imposing on gameplay. If you´ve played angel Pit´s revival, you know how almost every second of the game is accompanied by voice-acting and stuff going on in the far background. Be it during those midair-sections or the on-land parts, the player always keeps control over Pit. All that while we´re enjoying an epic story full of twists. It is not my personal favorite from all the ways to tell a story, but if it´s that cinematic flair so many developers appear to strive for these days, Kid Icarus: Uprising is certainly doing a better job at it than most.
Resident Evil: Revelations for doing Resident Evil the right way. A weird category, very subjective in several ways at once. I´m a fan of quiet, atmosphere Resident Evil. The old games for PS1/GameCube are my favorites, RE4 is also up there. Then came RE5 and introduced coop. And then RE6 came along and turned the franchise into a CoD-knock off. Revelations meanwhile managed to make the fine line between keeping the moody atmosphere of old RE and introducing the more direct controls of RE4 and onwards. And all that on a handheld no less! There´s a myriad of things to praise about Revelations, like graphics, music or online-modes, but what made it so memorable to me was that long lost feeling of playing a real Biohazard-game.
Zombi U for doing Zombies the right way. Slight repetition of words, but since this is another game featuring the undead, kinda fits. I´ve played a lot of Zombie-featuring games. Not that difficult, when the zombie apocalypse has grown into one of the most popular settings for games and movies. Be it Dead Rising, Dead Island, Left 4 Dead or modern Resident Evil – none of those managed to put life (haha) into the nature of zombies as Ubisoft did with their Wii U-launch title. The zombies in Zombi U are kinda slow, strong, dumb, steady – they´re zombies! What´s more, even a single one of them can put you in danger. Meet two of them at once? Better have a very good strategy or you´re already dead! Zombies in this game are not beating bags. They´re the revived bodies of formerly living people. Killing such body with a cricket bat isn´t easy. It´s not elegant. And it´s nerve-wrecking for the poor guy/gal that´s hitting his/her hardest to survive. There´s a lot of room for improvements, but for as far as the zombie-theme, Ubisoft created the most immersive, best done zombie apocalypse-simulator.
Unfortunately, some gameplay mechanics were rather disappoting.
These are the failed gameplay mechanics of the year:
The Walking Dead for being all trickery. I had great fun during my first playthrough of this adventure-title. However, much of this fun resulted from my anticipation for the second run. Why? Because a lot of choices I made, made me think about what might have happened if I did “this” instead of “that”. Turns out, once you start the game anew, all the illusion crumbles. The game always follows the same path and only minor differences will ever occur due to different choices being made. Once could say “well, you had fun the first time, why not leave it at that?”. Because that takes away all meaning from the choices I made. Had I chosen to stay with that one girl and left the rest of the group, where would I have arrived at? What if these boys were still alive? What if did that or that or that? None of it matters. Mattered, after starting a second game.
New Super Mario Bros U for being so samey that it hurts. Admittedly, I´m not the biggest fan of 2D-platformers. But finishing the newest Mario-game for Wii U was more chore than it was fun. With so many people praising this title, I kept telling myself “just keep playing, it´ll get fun … soon … right?”. But it never did. Maybe that´s an old realization, but 2D-Mario-games aren´t so much about platforming and jumping, but rather about evading shit the game keeps throwing at you. There wasn´t a single scene in the game where I had to do difficult jumps. Instead, I had to worry about getting hit by that Koopa, falling into lava/acid or being pushed to death by some moving wall. Guess I´ll keep it at 3D-Mario. Figuring out how to reach a certain place by making use of all your available jumping maneuvers beats this pseudo-platformer. Yes, I went there.